The National Rifle Association sent out an alert to its members late Monday warning that an initiative in Texas to allow alcohol at gun shows could backfire and have a “devastating impact” on NRA events.
The warning came after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission proposed a new set of rules last week that would allow alcohol to be served at gun shows across the state. The catch was that organizers of the events had to disable all firearms on display, ban live ammunition, and prohibit buyers from taking possession of their weapons on site.
The changes would override the current protocol, in which alcohol-serving venues are made to suspend the sale of alcohol throughout the preparation and duration of a gun show.
But what might appear to be a relaxation of regulations on the gun show industry has not been well-received by the NRA. In an alert posted Monday by the organization’s lobbying arm, the NRA asked its members to take action because the changes “could actually end these events as we know them”
“The proposed rules, as currently written, could have a devastating impact on Friends of NRA (FONRA) events in the Lone Star State,” the alert said.
It warned that gun shows could no longer be held in hotels or other venues with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) permit, even if the events were alcohol-free. The NRA also complained that the rules sneak in new and unfamiliar “safety guidelines” to be imposed on shooting ranges and gun clubs.
The alert also noted that these events are also a source of NRA fundraising, with money going to the NRA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and that the changes would put such fundraising in jeopardy.
The warning is a very different take from the one offered last week by Alice Trip, the legislative director of the NRA’s Texas affiliate, who told the Associated Press that the proposed rules were “confusing” but made no dire predictions.
“Nobody is interested in selling alcohol at a gun show,” she said.